TWO bobbies had an unexpected extra duty as they helped deliver a baby in a petrol station.

While at the Shell garage in Brighton Road, Shoreham, shortly after 6pm on Wednesday, PC's Roisin Vafaee and Jenny Pietersen were approached by frantic father Barry Marcantonio who had just pulled up.

His wife Beth was about to give birth in their car so the two officers jumped to action and went to her aid - comforting her and assisting with the birth of baby Thea.

PC Vafaee said: "It's not every day that we respond to something like this - it made such a change from the incidents that I usually go to.

“I can honestly say it was my best day on the job so far. I wish Beth, Barry and Thea all the happiness in the world."

An ambulance took the family to nearby Worthing Hospital where Thea weighed in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces.

Mr Marcantonio said: "When we left home to get to hospital the time had escaped us until we hit rush hour traffic on the A27. I diverted off the A27 and decided to go along the seafront as it was becoming incredibly clear that our baby wanted to meet us."

"My wife spotted a police car at the Shell garage and I pulled over into the lay-by calling 999 while shouting for an exact location for the ambulance to get to us! The police officers rushed straight over and immediately assisted!"

The officers later popped into the hospital to see how the mother and baby were doing - becoming Thea's very first visitors.

Mrs Marcantonio said: "In a situation where I should have been absolutely terrified I was bizarrely calm and totally reassured by Roisin's voice and I still remember exactly her first words to me "Hello it's all ok we are both mums, you're going to be absolutely fine!”

Chief Inspector Jo Banks said: "These two officers showed great initiative and professionalism in this unusual situation. I am very proud to work with and lead colleagues who are willing to rise to situations like this. I wish all the best to Beth, Barry and the new addition to their family."

Both mother and baby are reported to be doing well and have now returned to their home in Southwick.